EDITOR: The late Congressman John Lewis knew the success of any movement for change and justice relied upon the power of the vote. He famously said, “the right to vote is precious and almost sacred, and one of the most important blessings of our democracy…we must ensure every vote and every voter counts.”
Congressman Lewis was right, and nobody should think for a minute that the fight to make sure every vote counts is done. Every four years, millions of Americans who vote for a presidential candidate have their votes tossed aside because of the way we elect our president. It is called the “winner-take-all” system and it means that only the people in each state who vote with the majority get any say in who wins the presidency. Whichever candidate wins by even just one vote in the state gets all of the state’s electoral college votes.
A vote for the Republican presidential candidate in blue state Illinois does not matter. A vote for the Democratic presidential candidate in red state Mississippi means nothing. The President is elected to represent all of America, but the votes of millions of Americans don’t count when electing that person. On top of that, the candidate who gets the most votes still may not win. In 2016, President Trump lost the popular vote by 2.9 million. That’s a lot of voices who were ignored.
We can fix this problem. We can change the way we elect our President by adopting the National Popular Vote, and Coloradans can make all of their voices heard loud and clear by voting “yes” on Proposition 113.
Proposition 113 approves the decision by the Colorado legislature and Governor Polis to join the National Popular Vote interstate agreement. Once the National Popular Vote becomes the law of the land, one person will truly equal one vote in every election, and the presidential candidate who gets the most votes across the nation will win every time.
When one person equals one vote in presidential races, the candidates themselves will have to seek out votes from all around the country. That is not happening now. The candidates just focus on a handful of competitive “swing” states in order to win. They have spent nearly all of their time and budget this year in less than ten states. Colorado and forty other states are merely presidential “fly-over” territory that mean nothing to the candidates compared to swing states like Florida and Pennsylvania.
Skipping over 40 states also means most voters of color are ignored too. 69% of African-American voters, 76% of Latinx voters, and 82% of Asian-American voters live in those fly-over states. Presidential campaigns don’t need to speak about issues important to those communities of color because they don’t need their votes to win.
The National Popular Vote would make every voter matter. When more votes matter, more people will vote. People for the American Way endorses Proposition 113 because it will make sure every vote counts and every voter is heard.
— Ben Jealous, via [email protected]